| 03.21.2018

Reduce, reuse, relax — Moscow Renaissance Fair had one dumpster for the whole weekend


The 44th annual Moscow Renaissance Fair didn’t produce much this year — at least not in waste department.

Josh Lunt, the Recycling Coordinator for the fair, said the fair’s waste totals came in at 163 pounds of recyclable materials, 1,875 pounds of compostable waste and roughly 225 pounds of solid waste. The solid waste estimate is accurate within 25 pounds, Lunt said.

“Our point is to reduce the waste that’s going into the landfills and use biodegradable eating ware to minimize landfill usage,” he said.

The fair mandates vendors order their dinnerware directly through Lunt, who said he purchases the bio-degradable ware through a wholesaler. The dinnerware, Lunt said, has a compost date of 100 days.

Every food vendor provided volunteers that sorted waste for attendees at waste receptacles near eating areas, Lunt said. He said Moscow High School’s Environmental Club also provided numerous volunteers to collect waste throughout the park.

The club focuses on teaching young people to recycle, the fair’s president, Willow Falcon said, and gets them into an eco-friendly habit that is easy to stick with once adopted.

The recycling and compost receptacles resembled the size of typical trash cans, and Lunt said the only dumpster at the event was 4 yards in size.

Occurring annually in East City Park since the 70s, the Moscow Renaissance Fair focuses on the Moscow community and the environment, Falcon said.

Having worked with the event for over 15 years, Falcon said many of the non-profit organizations like the food vendors, craft vendors and educational groups keep returning to the fair.

“We’ve brought in a maypole, a TP, a yurt, different flags, the king and queen backdrop, the parade and the dragon. None of this was part of a grand plan, it was all just piece by piece added by community members,” she said.

Over a dozen food vendors were non-profit organizations, which Falcon said resulted in every food purchase contributing toward community-oriented goals.

“We’ve been fortunate to have passionate community members who work for the city and the sanitation,” she said. “We’re lucky to have them commit to this fair at the same level that we do.”

As a member of the Palouse Humane Society, Tara Winer has been involved for over 11 years. She said being at the fair allowed her to engage with Moscow’s pet community directly, as she reconnected with dogs that had been adopted from the shelter.

“It’s so nice seeing what their lives get to become, so it makes it even more worthwhile to be a part of the adoption process,” Winer said. “Just knowing that they’re getting that chance in life that they deserved.”

Winer said people often donated to their organization while passing by their booth, without purchasing anything.

Educational non-profits also attend the event regularly, one of them being the Realms of Avalon, which has attended the fair for over a decade, said Ruth Frey, a member of the organization. Frey said they focus on educating people about the ways people lived in the middle ages and during the renaissance.

“One of the things we’re interested in is showing people the technology and skills people had and used to survive in the middle ages,” Realms of Avalon member Bob Chenoweth said.

Chenoweth said many people do not understand that martial arts is more than karate or kung-fu. It involves using swords, armor, wrestling and other forms of hand-to-hand combat, he said.

“It makes such a big difference to be able to touch these things, handle them and get an idea of the weight and how they were used,” Frey said. “You’ll see it in a book or a movie, but it really doesn’t have the impact of seeing it in person.”

The Boy Scout Troop 345 also got an education experience out of the fair, Janet Peterson said, as they partnered with Cub Scout Pack 323 to raise money to purchase awards and subsidize summer camp for scouts that face financial barriers.

“We have our Boy Scouts man the booth,” Peterson said. “They are learning money skills, communication skills; there’s a merit badge for communication and a merit badge for personal management.”

Peterson said the fair’s eco-friendly atmosphere also helps to teach scouts about recycling and other sustainable ways of life at a young age.

The fair also had a message of tolerance, Falcon said, as Kathy Sprague and Tabitha Simmons, a same-sex couple devoted to creating spaces welcome to all, were proclaimed as the fair’s royalty, and declared this years’ fair be hate free.

“There’s a lot of hate out there, and we all just need to let go of that burden of hate and love each other a little bit more,” Falcon said.

Kyle Pfannenstiel can be reached at arg-arts@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @pfannyyy


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